The Next Big Thing in Exercise
The next big thing in exercise
Quick question...what's a type of exercise that's easy to do, doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment and has a wide range of benefits to people of all ages? You might be thinking strength (lifting weights), aerobic (walking/jogging) or flexibility (yoga/stretching), but you probably didn't think of balance.
Why balance is important
Good balance is essential to your general health and fitness levels and is a vital component in everyday activities such as walking, tying your shoes, carrying heavy items, getting out of a chair and negotiating stairs. It contributes to your stability, coordination, fluidity and ability to change direction quickly. It also comes into play during athletic activities.
To maintain equilibrium requires the use of particular muscles, and keeping those muscles in top working order improves your everyday stability. The primary objective of balance exercise is to enhance your "proprioception" which is knowing where you are in space. This ability tends to decline as we get older, and as getting older is something we all do...like it or not...regular balance exercise is beneficial to all of us.
Athletes and people who like to keep fit in general often use stability training as part of their workout routine. The right exercises can make movements more fluid and help strengthen core muscles.
Warm ups are highly recommended prior to any type of physical workout as they help prepare your body for what lies ahead and avoid injury. Balance exercises are perfect for warming up and will improve muscle readiness. Whatever your level of fitness incorporating stability training in your workout regime is a smart move.
A balance pad is designed to enhance stability training by introducing a degree of instability due to the soft, sponge-like material used in its construction. This forces you to engage particular muscles in order to maintain stability. Better models, such as the Strengthen YOU balance pad use high quality memory foam which retains its flexibility, shape and strength longer. They provide immediate benefits but give you the confidence to complete an exercise without falling.
What are the benefits of balance exercise?
- Improve motor skills: regular balance exercise significantly improves motor skills and is particularly beneficial to the elderly, young children and pregnant women (carrying around a miniature person does tend to throw off your centre of gravity).
- Improve stability
- Strengthen your core
- Reduce back pain: balance training has been shown to improve posture, a significant factor in lower back pain, particularly later in life
- Strengthen muscles
- Prevent falls
- Create better workouts: enhances performance for all aspects of your workout regime
- Effective for people with certain conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis
- Effective for pain management
- Rehabilitation: balance exercises are often implemented by therapists to aid in recovery from injuries or surgery.
A few simple exercises to try with a balance pad
- Push-ups: Put both hands on the pad and do normal push ups. The instability transfers movement to the shoulder blades. Great for people with weak wrists.
- Squats: Stand on the pad with your feet equally apart and do squats as you normally would. Great for posture.
- Step Ups: Place the pad on a stable elevated position and step up using one foot at a time. Do the opposite for step downs.
- One-Leg Stands: very simple, but just standing on one leg on the pad will get those balance muscles working overtime.
Always use a balance pad on a stable surface. It's a good idea to position the pad near a wall or counter so you have something to grab if you feel you are going to fall. You should also stop if you experience pain. Slow and steady is the name of the game.
The next big thing? Really?
Balance exercise is fun and works for people of all ages and fitness levels. Give it a try...we think you'll agree that the next big thing in exercise doesn't need to be complicated or expensive...just effective!